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HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN – or how I spent the afternoon learning to play in 6/8 time

July 16, 2011

PLEASE NOTE:  My “UKULELE BASICS” DVD is currently  available for purchase. . . For more information email me at


HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN - Finger Picking Pattern in 6/8 time

HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN - Picking Pattern in 6/8 time

I’ve had numerous responses and questions regarding my You Tube tutorial on “HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN”. In the process of interpreting this tun for the ukulele I dug down deep into my musical past when I was in college in the 60’s.  I formed a small folk group at the time and were doing Peter Paul & Marry and Kingston Trio, Ian & Sylvia etc. etc. . . Along came Eric Burden and the Animals doing one of “OUR” folks songs. . . “HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN”.  I remember being amazed that a rock group was doing a folk song but then this was a significant event in the birth of what soon became known as “Folk Rock”  Many other groups were doing it as well. . . The Byrds, The Mamas &  The Papas, The Lovin’ Spoonful  and many others. . . it gave rise to a bit of grumbling and a slight revolution in the ranks, but eventually a good majority of the “folkies’ did come onboard. . . At any rate. . . The ANIMALS interpretation of HOUSE was thought pretty dang cool and all of us guitar pickers attempted to emulate that rolling 6/8 pattern that they did. . . Once we got that down we figured we were pretty cool and when we went on stage and opened up with that signature strum instantly everyone knew what song we were about to perform. . . It was GREAT!!!. . . Ok, so now how do we transfer that same feel to the ukulele. . . Acutally quite easy, even in spite of the fact that we have only 4 strings.  So look above and you will see that  I’ve notated the picking pattern. . . You will see the fingering notation given for the right hand as P I M A . . . That’s actually been around since the middle ages for string instrument players.  It’s great because when you see PIMA you immediately know we are talking about the RIGHT HAND . . . Clearly, one of the most significant aspects of this pattern is that double thumb stroke. . . It takes a bit of practice to get that but once you do and it becomes automatic it will feel and sound very cool. . . So, have a listen to the video tutorial above and give a try to this classics 60’s remake of an old traditional american folk song. . . . “HAPPY STRUMMING” – UKULELE MIKE

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sharon permalink
    July 16, 2011 2:54 p07

    it’s a little tricky to get that finger picking pattern down, and even harder when I stop to think of what I’m doing 🙂 I really like this one Ukulele Mike, thanks!

    • July 16, 2011 2:54 p07

      Hi Sharon,
      Be patient with yourself. . . Give it time and you WILL get it. . . I promise. . .
      All the best
      Mike Lynch

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